It's stressful for workers these days, and Covid-19's impact has been far-reaching on economic activity and our way of working both now and in the future. With the recurring waves of the virus spreading throughout global communities, life's rules for engagement seem to be held hostage by the pandemic. Workers must deal with business closures, quarantine requirements, social distancing recommendations, battles over masks, and vaccine mandates for work and school. A return to pre-pandemic levels of stability still appears to be a long way off. All of this affects the mental health and well-being of employees.
October 10th is the annual observance of World Mental Health Day. Celebrated for the first time in 1992 by the World Federation for Mental Health initiative, the campaign that raises awareness about mental health issues and mobilizes support for them around the globe is now sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO).
What is Mental Health?
According to WHO, mental health is an "integral and essential component of health," defined as "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity."
The World Health Organization further states, "Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community."
Why is World Mental Health Day Important?
Multiple factors, social, psychological, and biological, affect mental health. Additionally, rapid social change, stressful work conditions, gender discrimination, social exclusion, unhealthy lifestyles, physical ill-health, or human rights violations can negatively injure mental health. When the pandemic compounds the existing challenges people face, eliminating every barrier to mental health is critical. Following are a few stats that should inspire us to recognize the importance of mental health and destigmatize seeking care.
- Over 26 million individuals experiencing a mental health illness are going untreated. (Mental Health America)
- BIPOC Communities were less likely to receive mental health treatment compared to white adults. (CDC)
- Nearly 9 out of 10 people with a mental illness feel stigma and discrimination negatively impact their lives. (Mental Health Foundation)
- During the COVID-19 pandemic, 4 in 10 adults in the US reported anxiety symptoms, up from 1 in 10 US adults reporting these symptoms before the pandemic. (KFF)
How Can You Help Raise Awareness for Mental Health?
Thankfully, there are plenty of actions we can all do to help improve mental health. Hanzo's diversity, equity, and inclusion committee gathered these resources to inspire positive steps to support our community and help spread awareness of this crucial issue.
Talk about mental health.
Your team can simply start talking about mental health and the things in life that can impact it. Sharing stories and resources with coworkers, friends, and family can destigmatize the concept and create an environment that encourages mental wellness.
Recognize World Mental Health Day.
Check out the resources presented by The World Health Organization. Explore the program Mental Health in An Unequal World, by the World Federation for Mental Health. Engage online with the video series featuring videos from real people sharing their experiences living with anxiety and more, presented by the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Incorporate mental health in your company culture.
Company HR and culture or inclusion committees can critically look at the organization itself and its policies. Is mental health addressed officially? Taking the time to see what policies are in place and looking for opportunities can improve your mental health culture.
The foundations of mental wellness can be significantly affected by the daily things of life. Are you getting plenty of sleep, eating well, getting sunlight, moving daily, connecting with others? These daily acts of kindness to yourself can make a world of difference. You also may want to check out these healthy ways of coping with stress by the CDC or WHO's mental well-being public resources.
Promote screening to get help.
Online screening is one of the quickest and easiest ways to determine if you are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition. These conditions are more common than we might imagine and are treatable. Have hope that recovery is possible.
We hope we are destigmatizing, asking for help, and promoting a healthier, more supported workforce by showcasing wellness practices and policies supporting World Mental Health Day.